As you are well aware, in a matter of a few hours the Camp Fire burned much of the town of Paradise yesterday and has since spread toward Southeast Chico and to the Northwest through Magalia in Butte County. The firestorm claimed over a thousand structures in less than 24 hours and forced all residents to flee for safety. The area around Peach Tree’s Paradise Eye Center was evacuated before it opened on Thursday, and all staff made it to safety before flames swept through the neighborhood. At this time we have received conflicting reports about the condition of our health center. Most of the structures surrounding the clinic were destroyed by the fire, but no officials can safely reach that area of town due to the many trees, power lines and abandoned cars blocking the roads. It is too soon to tell.
At this time we are assuming the Peach Tree Paradise clinic is either destroyed or badly damaged by the fire, and will be without utilities for several weeks or months. It is also unclear how many residents will be allowed to return to their homes in Paradise, or when utilities and public safety will be restored. The future of our eye care clinic is effectively on hold while we wait to see how this unfolds. Peach Tree remains the largest eye care provider for Medi-Cal and uninsured patients in Butte County, and we remain committed to serving this region’s residents through the disaster.
In the meantime, all Paradise patients are being redirected to the Peach Tree Chico Vision health center for care. The clinic will be open on Veterans day and will add staff to accommodate additional patient needs. Paradise residents displaced from their homes needing glasses or eye medication will all be accepted at our Chico location to receive replacement glasses and medication refills. Pre- and post-operative patient appointments will also be shifted from Paradise to Chico starting Monday. Peach Tree Vision in North Sacramento, Live Oak and Linda should not be directly impacted by the Butte county fire and will continue to operate as usual.
This is still a very active fire that continues to require more Butte county residents to evacuate for safety. While we are relieved to know all of our Peach Tree Paradise staff are safe, we are heartbroken to know that several lost everything in the fire. Even those able to return to their home will face a long period of displacement, uncertainty and hardship. Peach Tree and our partners at Ridge Eye Care are working together to support everyone through this trying time. Thank you for all the pledges of support and assistance received from many of you already. Your compassion and commitment to care is evident to us all.
Hopefully the worst of this tragedy is behind us and relief will increase with each new day.
Thank you –